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The first time I saw Patty was on the foto here (fifth one) although when Jed sent that foto, neither he nor I could identify it.    Ultimately I met Patty and her guardians (She accepts no other terms.)  About two years ago I had the good fortune of crewing for a similar tow.  Sunday I happened to glance at AIS and saw this blip just west of SeaGate/Norton Point, which told me to mobilize the hot air balloon/photography team**.

As we zoomed in, we caught Patty and tow . . .with West Bank Light in the distance, and …

the Parachute Jump off to port her port.

This has all the appearance of a “Patchogue floating home”  coming across

the west end of Jamaica Bay, with its antipodes Breezy Point to the left and Norton Point to the right.  For a post I did two years ago about the fascinating but incongruous wildlife in Jamaica Bay, click here.

For you outatowners, Patty and house are traversing the sixth boro, that central previously-unnamed core

of New York City, with its Barren Island-turned-airfield-turned-Barren Island Park and

its distant views of Manhattan cliffs, and its

other 32 islands in Jamaica Bay alone.  This too is Brooklyn!

And looking over into Queens and then Long Island, that in the distance is JFK (ex-Idlewild) Airport.  After delivering its tow, Patty races

back upriver with a favorable tide.

**Oh . . . I lied about the hot air balloon.  A total fabrication . . . a shameless bit of dissembling that was, but it sounds so much more exciting than the prosaic “I hurried to southern Brooklyn for a shot from Gil Hodges Bridge.”

The final shot here of Patty in stealth mode trying to blending into April foliage . . . thanks to bowsprite.  All others by Will Van Dorp, virtual hot-air balloonist photographer.

Someone asked why Patty has an awning:  in addition to commercial tows, she does picnic charters!!  A virtual Patty-of-all-trades.

Forces at play include:  sun, earth, season, tide, surf, and many more.  J aka Jamaica Bay is not not more than 10 nautical miles (goose-flying miles) from Manhattan, about the same distance the Meadowlands is, if you continued that straight line between my vantage point and the Empire State Building, then beyond.

Here’s a map.  Doubleclick to enlarge;  see “you are here” and continue clockwise around the indicated yellow path and look toward Duck Point Marshes;   Manhattan is to the northwest.  J-Bay is an NPS area.  Click here for info on the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

See the Verrazano Bridge on the far side of Floyd Bennett Field.

Osprey respond to all those same forces at play.

On the far side of a pond, a wildlife volunteer (aka midwife?) observes an egret,

a snowy egret, gossiping and waiting . . .  as they all are.

So what’s this volunteer doing?  Note the pendant and the red dot.

After the eggs get laid–prompted by all these forces–

and a thorough burying process happens,

the red-dot mama gets weighed, and all relevant info gets encoded.  I saw a half dozen egg-layers summoned by the forces in a one-mile walk in the preserve yesterday.  A year ago, on the northeast side of J-Bay, the terrapin shut down JFK.  See the story here.

Humans think the terrapin obey signs?    From the volunteer, I learned that another force at play here is an overpopulation of raccoons.  And for hatchlings, predators include wading birds and voracious fish.

Well, it’s time for us all to kick back and enjoy all those same forces at play:  Saturday . . . Coney.    Or if you’re upriver . . .  Clearwater.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp, himself beset by forces and tribal ritual of spring.

For info on terrapin mating, see here and here.

For another rite of spring in the sixth boro, click here.

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My job . . . Summer AND Fall 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

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